School uniform grants: how struggling parents can claim up to £150 as applications open

Grants for school uniforms in England are worth up to £150 – but not all councils provide this support. Here’s everything you need to know about who’s eligible and how much you can get paid.

Families in difficulty may be entitled to help with school uniforms
Families in difficulty may be entitled to help with school uniforms

Parents who are struggling with the cost of growing bills can apply for school uniform grants worth up to £150.

Help is provided by some councils across the UK. It is not mandatory in England, which means that not all local authorities will offer support.

Eligibility criteria also vary – but generally speaking, those who claim free school meals, have low incomes or claim benefits may be entitled to help.

Your child’s age can also affect whether you qualify as well.

A school uniform costs an average of £101.19 per child in secondary school, according to research by The Schoolwear Association.

Here, we explain how school uniform bags work.

Do I qualify for a school uniform allowance?

Subsidies for school uniforms are not a legal requirement in England – meaning councils do not have to provide the funding.

Dozens of local officials have also cut funding over the years, meaning parents face a zip code lottery for help.

Last year, fewer than 30 boards in England offered support, according to MoneySavingExpert.

We asked the Department of Education for the latest number of councils in England that still offer school uniform scholarships and will update this article when we know more.

How much you can receive in the form of a school uniform allowance varies between each board.

For example, Islington Council told The Mirror today that it still offers £150 to families where a child is moving from grade 6 to secondary school (year 7), provided they receive free school meals.

Hackney Council residents can get a school uniform allowance worth £110 when a child moves to secondary school (year 7) and their family claims certain benefits.

York City Council offers a school uniform allowance of £100 for students starting secondary school (grade 7), or £50 for children aged 8, 9 or 10.

Last year, Sandwell Council constituents could receive £20 for a child starting reception, or £25 for a child in grades 7-11 of high school.

The Sandwell Council has not confirmed how much its donations will be this year, but says more information will be available from 4 July.

The school uniform scholarship system is different in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, where councils have to offer help.

In Wales, you can get up to £200 towards the cost of school uniform per child for 7th graders, or £125 for reception, 3rd and 10th graders.

Scottish families are entitled to at least £100 per eligible child, although councils may choose to offer more.

If you live in Northern Ireland, you can claim £35.75 for a primary school student, £51 for a post-primary/special school student under 15 and £56 for a post-primary/special school student with more than 15 years.

How do I apply for a school uniform allowance?

Each municipality has a different way for residents to apply for the concession.

Typically, you need to fill out an online form or print a form and then email it or post it.

Enter your postcode on the website to find details from your local authority.

If your board offers a school uniform grant, you will need to verify that you qualify before making an application.

Deadlines vary from county to county, which is also something to take into account.

Applications usually open in June or July and stay open until at least the end of September.

If your local authority doesn’t offer a school uniform scholarship, it’s worth talking to your school to see what help they can offer.

For example, some may offer a reduction or some other financial support.

Some charities also offer grants to help cover school uniform costs – although, again, you typically need to be low-income or claim benefits.

Turn2Us has a free grant search tool so you can find out what help is available to you.

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